Evidence is presented for a late Proterozoic, tectonothermal event which affected the rocks of the Moine assemblage in the Central Highland region of the Scottish Caledonides c. 750 Ma ago. This is about 200 Ma before the early Palaeozoic Grampian orogeny, whose effects are superimposed on the Moine rocks as well as dominating the tectonism in the Dalradian Supergroup.
Field and isotopic studies are integrated in zones of ductile thrusting (sliding) which are typified by belts of tectonic schists with related swarms of quartz and muscovite-bearing pegmatite veins. Of particular significance is a ductile thrust (the Grampian slide) which separates deeper crustal rocks (the Central Highland division), interpreted as showing the imprint of the Grenville orogeny, from shallower rocks (the Grampian division) representing a supracrustal assemblage formed between the Grenville and the c. 750 Ma events.
The Grampian slide is the structurally highest member of a system of related, previously unrecorded slides affecting the Central Highland division. New structural, petrographic and Rb-Sr isotopic data, obtained largely from a recently recognised inlier of the Central Highland division at Laggan, bear out that the quartz and pegmatite veins are segregations formed during ductile shearing under amphibolite facies conditions. Muscovites from these veins yield ages between 780 and 730 Ma, and a regression analysis of tectonic schists and the muscovites gives an age of 740 ± 40 Ma. These data substantiate our previous hypothesis that the deeper-seated Moine rocks were affected by a distinct orogenic event at 750 ± 30 Ma.
In the Northern Highlands, similar vein swarms are related to the Sgurr Beag slide and to belts of previously unrecorded tectonic schists in the Glenfinnan division of the Moine assemblage. A new, 755 ± 8 Ma age obtained from such a tectonic schist at Kinloch Hourn, combined with previous, similar age data from lensoid pegmatites, imply that the c. 750 Ma event may have also affected the Morar and Glenfinnan divisions.